September 19, 2008

Elected officials, family and friends remembered Anna Langford on Thursday as a pioneer, a champion of civil rights, a good lawyer.

She died Wednesday at age 90 at her Englewood home.

“Michelle and I are saddened today to learn about the death of Anna Langford — a historic figure and unwavering champion for civil rights in Chicago,” Sen. Barack Obama said in a statement. “Her strong principles led her to always fight for the underdog, and she never lost sight of the ‘least of these’ in our society.”

Langford was the first black women elected to the Chicago City Council, in 1971.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s march on Cicero was conceived in her Englewood living room, she told the Chicago Sun-Times in a 1969 profile. Langford said she helped talk Harold Washington into running for mayor in 1983. And after he died, Langford unabashedly warned her fellow African-American aldermen not to criticize her for backing Ald. Eugene Sawyer over Washington’s floor leader, Tim Evans, for mayor.

Her fellow aldermen still respected her, said Ald. Ed Smith (28th), who was on the other side of that divide.

“She had great wit,” Smith said. “She had range and education. She was very concerned and sensitive. When the new people came in, she was always available to share the knowledge.”

“She was a pathbreaker for the rest of us,” Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) said.

Mayor Daley said Thursday, “She was very committed to the Englewood community. I knew her very well over many, many years. She was very supportive of my [school reform] efforts in 1995.”

SOURCE: The Chicago Sun-Times:

Published: September 19, 2008
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Rev. Simmie Lee Harvey, a fiery New Orleans preacher and civil rights stalwart who helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, died here on Sept. 10. He was 90.
The cause was complications of a stroke, Rhodes Funeral Home said.
Dr. Harvey was among a group of religious leaders, including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, who created the S.C.L.C. in 1957. In one of his last public appearances, he addressed the organization’s annual convention here in July.
Dr. Harvey was born in Jacksonville, Fla., and grew up in St. Joseph, La. He graduated from the Utica Institute in Utica, Miss., and earned master’s and doctoral degrees from Union Baptist College and Theological Seminary.
He was pastor of several New Orleans churches and worked as a longshoreman as well.
Dr. Harvey is survived by his wife, Marion Harvey; four sons, Salim Khalid of Atlanta, Darryl Harvey of New Orleans, the Rev. Gregory Holmes of Waggaman, La., and the Rev. Louis Harvey of Jefferson, La.; eight daughters, Essie Theyard, Annie Marshall and Simmie Weatherspoon, all of New Orleans; Lolita Harvey of Richmond, Calif.; Gloria H. Jackson of Mount Vernon, Ga.; Sandra Rodrigue of Seattle; Rocelia Harvey-Johnson of Washington; and Gloria Ezidore of St. Joseph; 35 grandchildren; 37 great-grandchildren; and a great-great-grandchild.
SOURCE: The Associated Press
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Henry Z. Steinway at Steinway Hall in 2003. In 1972 he sold his company to the CBS Corporation.



Published: September 18, 2008
Henry Z. Steinway, the last Steinway to run the piano-making company his family started in 1853, died Thursday at his home in Manhattan. He was 93.


 ‘I Love a Piano’ (mp3)

Invention for 900 Hands

In 2003, The Times ran a series of articles and multimedia about Steinway pianos.


His death was confirmed by a daughter, Susan Steinway.
Mr. Steinway once said that he had taken countless piano lessons but never knew “which is Beethoven’s this or Beethoven’s that.” He remained proficient on a typewriter’s keys, however; long after the world had adopted personal computers, he was still pounding away on his Smith-Corona manual.
Henry Ziegler Steinway — named for an uncle, and not to be confused with a cousin, Henry Steinway Ziegler — was the great-grandson of Heinrich Engelhard Steinway, the illiterate German immigrant before the ampersand in Steinway & Sons. Henry was born on Aug. 23, 1915, in his parents’ apartment on Park Avenue, between East 52nd and 53rd Streets.
The location was important to his tradition-minded father, Theodore E. Steinway. The Steinways’ factory, the largest piano plant in New York City when it opened, had occupied that site from just before the Civil War until about 1910. Theodore rented an apartment in the building that took the factory’s place. (The apartment house was demolished in the 1950s to make way for Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building.)
By the time Henry was a boy, the name Steinway had become almost synonymous with pianos, famous on concert stages as well as in Tin Pan Alley. Irving Berlin paid homage in “I Love a Piano” with the lyric “I know a fine way to treat a Steinway.”
After shuttering its Manhattan factory, Steinway & Sons moved its manufacturing operations to Queens, and as a child Henry wandered through a labyrinth of sawdust-strewn workrooms. He joined the company after graduating from Harvard in 1937 and began his career by building pianos, just as his father and uncles had.
“I learned a respect for work that is actually done,” Mr. Steinway said years later.
He also discovered that making instruments that have thousands of tiny parts under the lid is not easy. He said it took him a day and a half to do what the workers at the factory did in four hours.
In the 1940s, following the death of a cousin who had been the company’s general manager, Mr. Steinway began overseeing operations at the company’s three factories in Queens. Poor eyesight kept him away from the front lines during World War II; the Army stationed him on Governors Island in New York Harbor.
He became the factory manager after the war and president of the company in 1955, when his father made a surprise announcement that he was stepping down, immediately.
By then the piano business was struggling against changing technologies and tastes. Phonographs and radios had displaced pianos as home entertainment choices, and television was on the rise. As Mr. Steinway recalled in 2003: “People would say: ‘You’re in the piano business? That doesn’t exist anymore.’ ”
So he downsized the company — though he preferred the term “right-sized” — closing two of the plants in Queens. He decided that concert artists to whom the company had lent pianos would have to return them, unless they bought them.
He also arranged to sell Steinway Hall, the company’s building on West 57th Street, to Manhattan Life Insurance Company. He moved most of the company’s offices, including his own, to Queens. But the showroom, with its big front window and arched ceilings, remained.
In 1972 he sold the company itself. “It was the hippie time,” he recalled in 2003. “Nobody in the next generation —”
He left the rest of the sentence unsaid. He said he did not believe that any of his younger relatives could take over, so he proposed a $20.1 million stock swap with the CBS Corporation. The deliberations split the family, with his mother, Ruth, calling the sale “a betrayal,” although she ultimately voted for it.
CBS replaced him as president in 1977, naming him chairman. He gave up that title when he retired at 65, but he never really left. Until a few months ago, he went to Steinway Hall most days. He also went to the factory to autograph just-finished pianos, signing the cast-iron plates with felt-tip pens. At times he served as a goodwill ambassador, visiting piano dealers and attending music-industry conventions.
Last year President Bush presented him with the National Medal of Arts, the government’s highest award in the arts. Mr. Steinway was also the founding president of the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, Calif.
In addition to his daughter Susan, of Cambridge, Mass., he is survived by his wife, Polly; another daughter, Kate, of West Hartford, Conn.; three sons, William, of Chapel Hill, N.C., Daniel, of Rutland, Vt., and Henry E., of Los Angeles; and seven grandchildren.
CBS sold Steinway in 1985, and the company changed hands again in 1995. Mr. Steinway recalled worrying about that sale, to what was then Selmer Industries, a band-instrument manufacturer that had been taken over by two investment bankers from Los Angeles.
“I thought, ‘Here we go up the flue for sure,’ ” Mr. Steinway said in 2003. “ ‘Two hotshots who’re not yet 40. This is where we get liquidated for sure.’ ”
But the two investment bankers, Dana D. Messina and Kyle R. Kirkland, changed Selmer Industries’ name to Steinway Musical Instruments. Mr. Steinway liked to recall that when they took the company public in 1998, they used Ludwig van Beethoven’s initials for a stock symbol— LVB — because all possible combinations of S’s and T’s were taken.
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
Published: September 19, 2008
Richard M. Sudhalter, who won wide respect as a mellifluous trumpet player and perspicacious jazz historian — and ignited controversy for a book arguing that jazz was shaped by white as well as black musicians — died on Friday in Manhattan. He was 69.

Richard M. Sudhalter in performance in the mid-1980s.




The final cause was pneumonia after a long period of declining health, said his partner, Dorothy Kellogg.
Mr. Sudhalter ranged widely across the jazz scene, from critic to concert producer to bandleader to scholar to raconteur to teacher to album annotator. He shared a Grammy in 1982 for notes he and John Chilton wrote for “Bunny Berigan (Giants of Jazz).” He organized the New Paul Whiteman Orchestra; became an admired fixture on the classic-jazz scene, playing with groups that included the short-lived but highly lauded Classic Jazz Quartet; and recorded for Audiophile, Challenge and other labels.
In his 1999 book, “Lost Chords: White Musicians and Their Contribution to Jazz, 1915-1945” (Oxford), he strove to controvert the widely held belief that white players contributed little to the development of jazz. His account began at jazz’s inception in New Orleans, providing captivating accounts of many important soloists, among them Bix Beiderbecke, Benny Goodman, Jack Teagarden, Red Norvo, Bud Freeman, the Dorsey brothers, Bunny Berigan, Pee Wee Russell and Artie Shaw.
Jason Berry, in The New York Times Book Review, praised the book’s “elegant musical analysis” and did not dispute that whites greatly contributed to jazz. But Mr. Berry questioned whether Mr. Sudhalter had properly apportioned credit by giving too much of it to whites.
Writing in The Atlantic Monthy, William H. Youngren defended Mr. Sudhalter’s balance, saying the tendency at the time would be to see the book as an attack on black achievement. “Nothing could be further from Sudhalter’s intent,” he wrote.
A month before the book was released, The Times published a long essay on the topic by Mr. Sudhalter in its Arts & Leisure section. A storm of letters followed.
In an interview with Contemporary Authors, Mr. Sudhalter said most critics had not grasped his point. “The angrier the denunciation, it seemed, the less the writer had actually read,” he said. His book, he said, was a history, not “a racial screed.”
Mr. Sudhalter, who was a music critic for The New York Post in the 1970s and ’80s, also wrote “Bix: Man and Legend” (Arlington House), a highly praised 1974 biography of Beiderbecke, with Philip R. Evans. His friend the critic Terry Teachout compared its thoroughness to “a scholarly biography of a major classical composer.”
In 2002 Mr. Sudhalter published “Stardust Melody: The Life and Music of Hoagy Carmichael” (Oxford). Jonathan Yardley of The Washington Post said the book showed “that Carmichael’s mind was deeper and tougher than first impressions might suggest.”
Richard Merrill Sudhalter was born in Boston on Dec. 28, 1938. His father was a saxophonist who adored jazz, particularly Beiderbecke, and took his son’s musical education seriously. By his teens the younger Sudhalter was playing his cornet in Boston clubs. He earned a degree in English literature and music from Oberlin, worked as a musician in Germany and then was a reporter for United Press International in Europe.
He gave more emphasis to playing after he visited the Williams College library to research his Beiderbecke book. He discovered all the arrangements of the Paul Whiteman Orchestra of the 1920s, in which Beiderbecke had played, and decided to form a band to play the arrangements.
So he returned to London, where he was then living, and gathered top British musicians to play as the New Paul Whiteman Orchestra. Fans applauded them wildly at a jazz festival, a recording was made four days later, and the group went on to successful appearances at Carnegie Hall and elsewhere. Mr. Sudhalter played the cornet in the role of Beiderbecke, with inflections reminiscent of his other idols, Louis Armstrong and Bobby Hackett.
In addition to Ms. Kellogg, Mr. Sudhalter is survived by his sister, Carol, of Queens; his brother, James, of Harrisburg, Pa.; and his daughters Adrian, of Manhattan, and Kimberly, of Hollywood, Calif.
Dan Morgenstern, director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University, said jazz lovers were disappointed years ago when the Classic Jazz Quartet suddenly broke up after the death of its pianist, Dick Wellstood. He recalled that all four members of the group were writers of various sorts, and all had a hearty sense of humor.
Their first choice for a name, Mr. Morgenstern said, was the Bourgeois Scum, but “they were told that was not commercial.”
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
Published: September 20, 2008
For the “Star Trek” faithful, it was a historic event. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the series, showed up. So did the science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, not to mention fans dressed as Klingons, Tribbles and Bele from the planet Ceron. NASA delivered a scaled-down lunar module and a spacesuit.
Jeff Maynard

Joan Winston with George Takei, who played Mr. Sulu on the original “Star Trek” series, in an undated photo.


It was January 1972, and the first Star Trek convention was under way in a rented ballroom at the Statler Hilton in Manhattan. The organizers had expected a crowd of about 500. In the end, more than 3,000 fans turned up, so many that by the final day of the event registrars were issuing ID cards made from torn scraps of wrapping paper. For fans of the series, the convention marked the moment when a diaspora became a nation.
And it made a subculture celebrity of Joan Winston, who played a leading role in creating the event and went on to achieve a second-order fame as one of world’s most avid “Star Trek” fans. She died of Alzheimer’s disease on Sept. 11 at age 77, her cousin Steven Rosenfeld said. She lived in Manhattan.
“I would put her in the category of legend,” said Dennis Rayburn, a columnist for, a Web site of the production company owned by Roddenberry’s son, Eugene. “She is right up there with Bjo.”
For “Star Trek” devotees, the comparison requires no clarification. Betty Jo Trimble, or Bjo (pronounced Beejoe), won immortality in the “Star Trek” universe by leading the campaign to keep the series on the air when word got out that NBC planned to cancel it.
Ms. Winston earned the love of “Star Trek” fans everywhere by helping to orchestrate an afterlife for the series beyond the television set — initially by organizing conventions and persuading stars from the series to attend, later by appearing at the conventions as a star in her own right, a superfan whose undying devotion inspired awe among “Star Trek” devotees.
Her unstinting efforts for the cause were chronicled in “Star Trek Lives” (1975), which she wrote with Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Sondra Marshak, and “The Making of the Trek Conventions” (1977). She also edited “Startoons” (1979), a book of science fiction cartoons; wrote fiction using the “Star Trek” characters; and, moving with the times, edited Number One, a fanzine devoted to First Officer William T. Riker, a character on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”
Ms. Winston was born in Washington and grew up in Brooklyn, where she attended public schools. After her father decided to send her younger brother to college instead of her, she went to work at Bonwit Teller as a merchandiser. She later worked in the contracts departments of CBS and ABC in New York.
She led a second life. A passionate fan of science fiction, she went into deep space when the Starship Enterprise set off on its voyage on Sept. 8, 1966. When the campaign to keep the series on the air took off, she picketed NBC. She sent story ideas to Gene Roddenberry. In 1968 she pulled strings to attend the taping of a “Star Trek” episode — the last one, as it turned out.
She made the most of her opportunity. In his book about “Star Trek” fandom, “Get a Life,” William Shatner described Ms. Winston as “bright, bubbly, and energetic beyond every law of human physiology and comprehension.” Mr. Shatner, who played Captain James T. Kirk in the series, steered clear of the earliest “Star Trek” conventions but later became a regular on the circuit.
On the set, Ms. Winston charmed the actors, rubbed noses with Mr. Shatner for the camera and impressed Roddenberry enough that he asked her to develop one of her story ideas for the series, if it should survive for a fourth season.
It did not. After “Star Trek” ended, Ms. Winston attended science fiction conventions, but like many other “Star Trek” fans felt a certain coolness in the atmosphere.
“Most of us belonged to the Lunarians, a science fiction club, and we attended Lunacon, their convention, but there was a sense that ‘Star Trek’ fans were not real sci-fi fans,” said Devra Langsam, a fellow organizer of the first “Star Trek” convention and the editor of Spockanalia, the first “Star Trek” fanzine.
Elyse Pines, a friend of Ms. Langsam’s, proposed a gathering specifically for “Star Trek” fans. A mutual friend brought in Ms. Winston, who used her show business contacts to secure tapes of 15 “Star Trek” episodes, a blooper reel and the presence of Roddenberry. She also requested a few moon rocks from NASA.
“I just assumed that a day or two before the event the mailman would bring us a little postal package full of moon rocks,” she later told Mr. Shatner. Instead, NASA dispatched a trailer truck with two tons of memorabilia that included a genuine spacesuit stuffed with a mannequin astronaut.
Ms. Winston and her associates, known to fellow aficionados simply as the Committee, presented four more conventions before withdrawing from the field, exhausted, in 1976. By that time more than 40 “Star Trek” conventions were competing for Ms. Winston’s presence as a guest speaker.
“She didn’t let the status she had among the ‘Trek’ fans go to her head,” Mr. Rayburn said. “She was just one of us.”
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
Published: September 20, 2008
Hyman Golden, a businessman who was a co-founder of the Snapple Beverage Corporation and served as its chairman as Snapple’s flavored teas and juices became a national phenomenon, died on Sept. 14 in Great Neck, N.Y. He was 85.
The cause was complications from a stroke, said his daughter, Sharon Golden Brenner.
With a small investment in 1972, Mr. Golden and two partners started a business that would eventually produce one of the nation’s leading flavored beverages and compete with industry stalwarts like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.
By the time the company was purchased by Quaker Oats Company for about $1.7 billion in 1994, it had annual sales of $700 million, and its bottles of juices with their familiar blue-and-white logos could be found in delis, supermarkets, vending machines and homes across the country.
Mr. Golden, who had little formal education, had a humble upbringing in Queens, working first as a window washer for his father, a Romanian immigrant. Along the way he also worked as a business broker and founded a maintenance company with his brother-in-law, Leonard Marsh.
Then, in 1972, Mr. Marsh introduced Mr. Golden to Arnold Greenberg, a childhood friend who ran a health food store in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan. The three decided to join forces and founded a company — called Unadulterated Food Products — selling juices to health-food stores.
In 1980, the company introduced a line of all-natural juices with the Snapple name, which came from one of its first products, a carbonated apple juice that had a “snappy apple taste.”
“When it first came out,” Mr. Greenberg told The New York Times in July 1994, “we sold 500 cases. The next month we sold 500 more cases and got some calls from distributors. ‘You’ve changed your formula,’ they said. ‘This Snapple’s tasting better and better.’ Then one day in our warehouse the tops of the bottles started shooting off. Bang! Pop! We found out it was fermenting. We’d made Champagne.”
The company enjoyed modest success with its natural sodas in the early 1980s, but it was when it introduced its iced tea in 1987 that sales began to skyrocket. Amid a nationwide boom in health consciousness, Snapple became perhaps the only ready-to-drink iced tea promoted as having natural ingredients and being made from real brewed tea. Consumers increasingly chose it over its carbonated competitors.
Besides winning appeal through its 52 fruity flavors, Snapple quickly endeared itself to Americans with an aggressive marketing campaign. Its unconventional television ads featured a wildly popular spokeswoman from Long Island, Wendy Kaufman, or Wendy the Snapple Lady, who would read letters from devoted Snapple drinkers in her distinct “New Yawk” accent while promoting the beverage as “Made from the best stuff on earth.”
Snapple is now sold in 80 countries.
The company, which was founded in Brooklyn, eventually moved to Long Island, where Mr. Golden and his two business partners lived. All the while the three friends cherished their product, having a level of fun with it that was reflected in its quirky flavors and reputation.
“They used to sit in their office with chemists, and they would have concentrates all over the table as they did taste tests,” said Mr. Golden’s daughter, Sharon. “It wasn’t even work to them. It was total enjoyment and they just loved what they were doing. They had a ball with it.”
Hyman Golden was born in 1923 in Passaic, N.J., and raised in the Middle Village section of Queens. He served in the Air Force and in 1948 met his wife, Mitzi, whom he married the next year.
In the early 1990s, as Snapple was exploding in popularity, Mr. Golden served as its chairman. The company was sold several times — eventually ending up with Cadbury Schweppes, now known as the Dr Pepper Snapple Group — making the men a fortune. But Mr. Golden, who retired in 1995, always remained thankful, his daughter said.
“He accomplished the American dream,” she said. “When he and his partners would get together for events and celebrations, their favorite song to sing was ‘God Bless America,’ because they were so appreciative.”
“In their wildest dreams,” she added, “they never thought that this would be the end result.”
Mr. Golden is survived by his wife, Mitzi Golden; his three children, Sharon Golden Brenner, Dr. Bruce Golden, and Robert Golden; and seven grandchildren.
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
Published: September 18, 2008
Correction Appended
Norman Whitfield, a Grammy-winning songwriter, producer and arranger for Motown Records whose many hits, including the signature song “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” helped solidify the Motown sound in the 1960s and afterward, died on Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 68 and lived in Toluca Lake, Calif.
Louis Lanzano/Associated Press

Norman Whitfield in 2004.



The cause was heart and kidney failure resulting from diabetes, his daughter, Irasha Whitfield, said.
Mr. Whitfield, who often wrote both lyrics and music, had more than 450 songs released in his lifetime, his daughter said. Many, including “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” memorably recorded both by Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight & the Pips, were written with his frequent collaborator Barrett Strong. (The tune was by the Funk Brothers.)
For all his renown as a composer, Mr. Whitfield was even more prominent as a producer and arranger. He was known especially for his work with the Temptations; he produced many of their recordings for Motown, including the album “Cloud Nine,” whose title track earned the group a Grammy in 1969. He also helped usher in the era of psychedelic soul, producing the work of artists like Edwin Starr and the Undisputed Truth.
Mr. Whitfield’s songs were recorded by a string of Motown luminaries, who besides Mr. Gaye included the Temptations and the Jackson Five. His work was also recorded over the years by artists as varied as Creedence Clearwater Revival and Bruce Springsteen.
Among Mr. Whitfield’s other hits were “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” written with Mr. Strong. With Eddie Holland, Mr. Whitfield wrote “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” for the Temptations, which reached No. 1 on the R&B charts in 1966.
Norman Whitfield was born in Harlem on May 12, 1940. When he was a teenager, he and his family settled in Detroit after their car broke down there. Norman studied briefly at a technical school in Detroit before joining Thelma Records, a local label, when he was about 19.
Mr. Whitfield joined Motown in the early 1960s, when he was not much more than 20. He started there as a tambourine player; known for his keen ear, he was eventually put in charge of quality control by the label’s founder, Berry Gordy Jr.
In the mid-1970s, Mr. Whitfield left Motown to start his own label, Whitfield Records. Among his hits there were the soundtrack album for the film “Car Wash” (1976), for which he wrote the score. Mr. Whitfield won a Grammy for the album, recorded by the band Rose Royce.
In 2004, Mr. Whitfield was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The next year, he was in the news again after he pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion. Mr. Whitfield, who had been charged with failing to report more than $4 million in income, was fined $25,000 and sentenced to six months’ home detention.
Besides his daughter, Irasha, of Los Angeles, Mr. Whitfield is survived by four sons, Norman, of Los Angeles; Michael, of Toluca Lake; Johnnie, of Atlanta; and Roland, of Murrieta, Calif.; a brother, Bill, of Los Angeles; eight grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.
In an interview with David Ritz for “Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye” (Da Capo, 1991), Mr. Whitfield recalled the deep influence of the new, hard-driving funk of Sly Stone, and how he tried to bring something of Mr. Stone’s sound to his work at Motown.
“My thing was to out-Sly Sly Stone,” Mr. Whitfield said. “Sly was definitely sly, and his sound was new, his grooves were incredible, he borrowed a lot from rock. He caught the psychedelic thing. He was bad. I could match him though, rhythm for rhythm, horn for horn.”
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: September 19, 2008
An obituary on Thursday about Norman Whitfield, a songwriter, producer and arranger for Motown Records, omitted part of the name of the label’s founder. He is Berry Gordy Jr., not Berry Gordy. It also referred incorrectly to a recording Mr. Whitfield produced for the Temptations , a Motown group. The Temptations won a Grammy for their single “Cloud Nine,” not their album of that name. (Both were produced by Mr. Whitfield.) And they won in 1969 — the single was released late in 1968 — not 1967.
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
Published: September 15, 2008
Correction Appended
Richard Wright, the keyboardist whose somber, monumental sounds were at the core of Pink Floyd’s art-rock that has sold millions and millions of albums, died Monday in London, where he had lived. He was 65.
September 16, 2008    

Associated Press

Pink Floyd’s original lineup, shown in 1967, included, from left, Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Syd Barrett and Richard Wright.

MJ Kim/Getty Images, 2005

Mr. Wright performing with Pink Floyd at Live 8 London.



The cause was cancer, said his publicist, Claire Singers.
Mr. Wright was a founding member of Pink Floyd, and his spacious, somber, enveloping keyboards, backing vocals and eerie effects were an essential part of its musical identity.
Though Syd Barrett and then Roger Waters wrote most of Pink Floyd’s songs, Mr. Wright shares credit on the improvisatory psychedelic studio works the band composed collectively, and he sang a few lead vocals, including on “Astronomy Domine” from the band’s debut album, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.”
Mr. Wright was the sole songwriter on “The Great Gig in the Sky,” a hymnlike track with a soaring, wordless female vocal at the center of “The Dark Side of the Moon,” the blockbuster 1973 Pink Floyd album that has sold some 40 million copies.

Dark Side of the Moon.png
David Gilmour, Pink Floyd’s guitarist and singer, said in a statement on Monday: “In the welter of arguments about who or what was Pink Floyd, Rick’s enormous input was frequently forgotten. He was gentle, unassuming and private but his soulful voice and playing were vital, magical components of our most recognized Pink Floyd sound.”
Mr. Wright was born in London in 1943 and taught himself to play keyboards, developing an early interest in jazz. He attended a boys’ school founded by the haberdashers’ guild, then studied architecture at the Regent Street Polytechnic College.
With fellow students at Regent Street — Mr. Waters on guitar or bass and Nick Mason on drums — he started a group, at first playing American rhythm-and-blues songs. Mr. Barrett joined them in 1965, reshaping the music and naming the band The Pink Floyd Sound, after the American bluesmen Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.
Mr. Barrett’s whimsical, asymmetrical songs and the band’s fondness for experimental sounds placed it at the center of London’s underground psychedelic movement in the mid-1960s. “Music was our drug,” Mr. Wright once told an interviewer.
“The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” was released in 1967 and yielded pop hits in England, but LSD use and mental illness made Mr. Barrett so unstable that he left Pink Floyd in 1968. He recorded two solo albums; Mr. Wright and Mr. Gilmour produced the second one, “Barrett,” in 1970. Mr. Barrett died in 2006, at the age of 60.
Pink Floyd’s late-1960s and early-’70s albums mingled pop songs with extended pieces, like the 23-minute “Echoes,” which begins with single notes from Mr. Wright’s keyboard, on 1971’s “Meddle.”
On the 1969 album, “Ummagumma,” which includes solo studio recordings by each band member, Mr. Wright’s four-part “Sisyphus” encompasses a majestic dirge with tympani, a piano piece that moves from rippling impressionism to crashing free jazz, a clattery interlude for keyboards and percussion, and a mostly elegiac improvisation with organ, guitar, tape effects and birdcalls.
With “The Dark Side of the Moon,” Pink Floyd reined in its improvisation, came up with a concept album about workaday pressures and insanity and established itself as an arena-rock staple. The album stayed in the Billboard Top 200 album chart for 741 weeks. Pink Floyd continued to thrive through the 1970s, and Mr. Wright released his first solo project, “Wet Dream,” in 1978. Pink Floyd’s 1979 album, “The Wall,” eventually sold 23 million copies in the United States.
But there were conflicts within the band. Mr. Waters, who had increasingly taken control of Pink Floyd, reportedly threatened not to release “The Wall” unless Mr. Wright resigned his full membership in the band. Mr. Wright quit, only to tour with Pink Floyd in 1980-81 as a salaried sideman. He does not appear on the band’s 1983 album, “The Final Cut.”
After that album, Mr. Waters left Pink Floyd for a solo career, declaring the band a “spent force creatively.” Amid lawsuits, Mr. Gilmour and Mr. Mason regrouped under the Pink Floyd name; Mr. Wright rejoined them for the 1987 album “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” and “The Division Bell” in 1994.
He made another solo album, “Broken China,” in 1996, with Sinead O’Connor among the guest performers.
Mr. Wright, who was married three times, is survived by three children, Benjamin, Gala and Jamie; and one grandchild.
In interviews in 1996, Mr. Wright said he had not spoken to Mr. Waters for 14 years. Mr. Wright played keyboards on Mr. Gilmour’s 2006 album, “On an Island,” and went on tour with Mr. Gilmour’s band.
Pink Floyd’s 1970s lineup reunited briefly at the Live 8 London concert in Hyde Park on July 2, 2005, performing four songs before sharing a hug.
Correction: A previous version of this article referred incorrectly to Mr. Wright having attended a school for haberdashers.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: September 17, 2008
An obituary on Tuesday about Richard Wright, a founding member of the rock group Pink Floyd , referred incorrectly to a school he attended. The school, the Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School, is an independent day school founded by the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers, a guild; it is not a school for haberdashers.
Associated Press
September 9, 2008
CHICAGO — Imam W.D. Mohammed, who succeeded his father as leader of the Nation of Islam but abandoned its teachings of black supremacy and moved thousands of its followers into mainstream Islam, died Tuesday. He was 74.
Sultan Muhammad confirmed his uncle’s death, but did not immediately offer details. He said the family planned to issue a statement.
The Cook County Medical Examiner said Wallace Mohammed was pronounced dead Tuesday. Mohammed went by both Warith Deen Mohammed and Wallace Muhammad.
An autopsy was planned for today.
“Obviously, it’s a great loss for the entire Muslim community,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Michigan, where Mohammed led a convention last month. “He was encouraging his followers to accept the best of their humanity and to extend the moral and ethical values of Islam to the general American public.”
When Mohammed’s father, Elijah Muhammad, died in 1975, his son was named leader of the Chicago-based Nation of Islam, which promoted self-reliance and black supremacy, a belief that mainstream Muslims consider heretical.
Mohammed, a friend of Malcolm X, quickly abandoned that teaching and led the Nation toward orthodox Islam, emphasizing the faith’s message of racial tolerance.
Minister Louis Farrakhan, who broke with Mohammed over the change, separately revived the old Nation of Islam.
SOURCE:  The Houston Chronicle:
Bby Everett Evans Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle
September 18, 2008
Houston actor Cary Winscott, 38, a mainstay with Infernal Bridegroom Productions during its years as the city’s leading alternative theater, died of cancer Tuesday.
Winscott was one of three performers who portrayed different aspects of Joe the Boxer, the protagonist in Speeding Motorcycle, IBP’s premiere rock opera based on the works of cult figure Daniel Johnston. The production drew national attention, with coverage in The New York Times and American Theatre.
Another of Winscott’s memorable turns was as Starmaker, the lead role in A Soap Opera, a rock opera based on the album by the Kinks. He was prominent in many other IBP productions, including The Hotel Play, Meat/Bar and Rhinoceros.
Also a musician and writer, Winscott contributed to the troupe’s ensemble-generated works, such as the popular Tamalalia revues showcasing Tamarie Cooper.
“I don’t know how to talk about the impact Cary has made on my life personally today,” IBP founding artistic director Jason Nodler said Thursday. “And I don’t know that I ever will.”
Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Pat H. Foley Funeral Home, 1200 W. 34th, with a reception following at 4 p.m. at DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway.
In accordance with Winscott’s love of “his friends and music,” Nodler requests that those at the reception be prepared to play “whatever music they like, recorded or live, as the best way to celebrate Winscott’s life with each other. In lieu of flowers, tax-deductible donations may be made to:
The Catastrophic Theatre
P.O. Box 66814
Houston, TX 77266-6814;
or M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Center.
Related links:  more info and a video at

1 Comment

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One response to “IN REMEMBRANCE: 9-21-2008

  1. Lynda

    Hi Ann,
    I just came across your blog. I was looking for information on Irasha Whitfield, she is the daughter Norman Whitfield. Since you had his I thought maybe you by chance came across information of her death this year in July 2016.

    A new reader

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